An estimated 3,000 people are expected to attend March 19-20.
Next month, Middletown will once again attract comic book and pop culture fans from across the state for Galactic Con – a unique convention for those still young at heart and in love with their action figures.
An estimated 2,000 people attended last year – its first – packing the gymnasium at Everett Meredith Middle School and leaving superhero fans in Delaware hungry for more.
This time, Galactic Con will be held at a larger venue to accommodate more people – an estimated 3,000 are expected – and it has added an extra day of comic book fun.
“We’ll be at the MTown Sports Complex where there will be more space and elbow room,” Joe Manzo said. “We are also doing a two-day show to give more folks a chance to see more. And, we also plan to have shuttle service from Home Depot to alleviate any parking issues.”
The popularity of comic cons (short for “comic book conventions”) such as Galactic Con’s has to do with the nation’s seemingly endless love of folks with supernatural powers, Manzo said.
“You can't walk through a store or turn on the TV without seeing comic or pop culture references,” he explained. “It’s everywhere.”
Manzo, who is also a die-hard Spider-Man fan, envisioned holding a comic con type of event in Middletown after he moved with his family from Florida four years ago. He spent many hours putting together the first convention last year, often with just the help of Sapphira, his wife, to bring to life meetings with Batman, Superman or Star Wars characters.
This year is no different for Manzo who has been lining up groups of comic book artists, vendors and people who love wearing costumes for another year of fun.
“Our comic con will have something for everyone – comics, toys, pop culture, original art, and tons of free photo ops with people dressed up as superheroes and characters from popular TV shows and movies,” Manzo said.
Fans will also have the chance to enjoy Galactic Con related activities at other Middletown venues throughout March at Westown Movies, the Gibby Center for the Arts, the Appoquinimink Public Library and Sully's Irish Pub.
At the library for example, there will be a “green screen” photo area where various costumed characters will take turns in the spotlight for special photo opportunities. A library card is required for this event. The library will also host a “Super Hero and Comic Crafts day” on March 5.
Westown Movies along with MOT Film Society will have a special screening of the animated film, “The Iron Giant” on March 13. Proceeds from the movie screening will be donated to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
The Gibby Center for the Arts will host a comic-themed art exhibit throughout the month of March, titled “Influences of the Comic Book Artist.” The Gibby and PLB Comics will also host a student workshop “Creating Comics, the Adventure Begins” on March 28.
At the comic con itself, there will be an alley with about 40 artists, including the artists of the popular “Grumpy Cat” comic and the creators of “The Living Corpse” comic, both published by Dynamite.
Galactic Con will also have an exclusive print by Anthony Spay featuring some galactic heroes hanging out at Cochran Square on Main Street.
Special costumed guests will also be present, including the local chapter of “The 501st,” a volunteer group that portrays the dark side of the Star Wars universe. Also at the event, the Delaware Ghostbusters along with a replica of the famous Ecto-1 car will be in attendance. And, a replica of the ’66 Batmobile and “The Finest,” a GI Joe cosplay group, will be making their first appearances at Galactic Con this year.
There will be a costume contest with a chance to win prizes, Manzo said.
Enthusiasm for the event is running high.
“I really can’t wait to go. I missed it last year, but I know people who went and really liked the exhibits and seeing the artists,” said Shane Butler of Middletown – a fan of the latest comic book character to hit the big screen, Deadpool. “I did get to see some of the people wearing costumes waiting in line to get in though. It’s cool that people in the area are into this stuff hardcore. It builds community.”
Butler describes himself as a shy young adult, but said that when he attends comic cons in Philadelphia or another city and gets to meet other fans like him that he feels like he fits right in.
“I don’t know how, but I always meet some really nice folks at those events. They’re all really excited about being there and seeing something they’re passionate about – their favorite character from a show or movie,” he said. “You get to be a kid again – that’s it, yeah, you’re a kid again. It’s just a really great feeling.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Galactic Con comic book convention
WHEN: Saturday, March 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Early bird entry is at 10 a.m. on Saturday)
WHERE: The MTown Sports Complex, 938 Middletown Warwick Road in Middletown
TICKETS: $5 per person, $10 per family for each day. Limited Early Bird tickets good for two days are $25 each.
MORE INFO: 301-378-3159 or visit, http://middletowncomiccon.com/